Institute of Chemical Engineering
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Cost-efficient transportation of green hydrogen

Custom processes on the basis of membrane-gas-permeation and adsorption make it possible

The storage of electrical surplus energy from alternative sources (wind, solar power, etc.) is a key challenge of our energy transition.
The Power to Gas concept offers a promising approach.
Electrical surplus energy is used to produce a storable energy carrier like hydrogen or methane. Hydrogen is considered to be well qualified due to the CO2 neutrality and the highly efficient end-use applications.
As the production of energy often takes place far away from the end-users an energy-efficient transport of the energy is highly essential.

The idea

The idea of the introduced (proposed?) concept is to feed hydrogen into the existing natural gas grid  with existing infrastructure, transport it cost-efficiently and  separate it with fuel cell quality at random locations

Regulatory framework

By reason of statutory regulations the hydrogen content in the Austrian gas grid is currently required to contain a maximum of 4 vol% hydrogen. According to ISO 14678-2:2012 vehicles with fuel cells need highly pure hydrogen (99,97 vol%).


Highest environmental and economic efficiency in compliance with the frame conditions are implemented with the presented three-step concept.
In step one a membrane gas permeation provides a highly energy efficient pre-concentration/pre-enrichment and a drastic mass-reduction.
The hydrogen concentration is further increased in a…/ Hydrogen is enriched in a succeeding pressure swing adsorption (PSA) during step two.
Step three/The final step can be implemented when required and ensures the desired (end) product quality.


Based on the extensive practical know how of the research group in the field of gas separation    a newly developed numerical model was used for the optimization process in addition to experimental data regarding membranes and absorption.
The numeric method combines  an experimental validated finite difference solver for the simulation of the membrane gas permeation and an experimental validated dynamic adsorption model in combination with a numeric Levenberg-Marquard procedure for the process optimization.
On basis of this effective combination it is possible to develop and scale custom multi-stage plants.
The simulation assisted design enables the identification of an optimal interconnection and scaling of the process steps. Besides the optimization of the single steps, the whole concept is designed for highest energy efficiency and economic viability.


The result of the developments of the Vienna University of Technology in cooperation with OMV AG is a compact plant which is able to separate hydrogen with fuel cell quality. The residual mixture of substances will be compressed to the original pressure and refeeded to the gas grid. If the required electrical energy is generated from renewable energy, this is a CO2 neutral method for separation.

The benefit for you

The Vienna University of Technology’s know how enables:

  • Optimal hydrogen separation with optimal combination of hydrogen yield, required process energy and investment costs
  • CO2 neutral separation
  • Hydrogen with fuel cell quality
  • Solutions for process integration and automation

Partners & financing

The OMV Gas & Power actively supports as a project partner.

This project is sponsored by expenses from “Klima- und Energiefonds” and is realized within the scope of the program “ENERGY MISSION AUTRIA”.


Contact: Ass.Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Dr.techn. Michael Harasek